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Driving Electric Vehicles in Nigeria

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By Abraham Adekunle

As a virgin industry, EVs are starting to take off in the country.

With the global rising interest in driving Electric Vehicles (EVs) as one of the ways to mitigate the effect of climate change, interest has also surged in Nigeria despite doubts that it may not be suitable for the Nigerian market yet. A number of electric vehicle owners are in Nigeria boasting of cars such as Tesla and Hyundai Kona in parking lots. This is not surprising because the Federal Government of Nigeria has committed to achieving net-zero by 2060. Net zero is a target of completely negating the amount of Greenhouse gases produced by human activity, which is to be achieved by reducing Emissions and implementing methods of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Gas-powered and diesel-powered vehicles run on fossil fuels, which contribute to the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) that released into the atmosphere. With EVs in the picture, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is expected to start reducing. In Nigeria, the average Nigerian will expectedly doubt how possible and convenient it will be to drive an EV in the country. There is yet to be stable Electricity supply in the country and terrible road Infrastructure.

The user experience of EVs is customer satisfactory.

Despite these factors, the user experience of driving an EV is satisfactory to the customers. Jelani Aliyu, an automotive engineer and Director-General of National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), drives a Hyundai Kona in Abuja. He told the press that electric cars are smoother to drive than fossil-powered vehicles. Also, he said that he does not have to make stops to fill up his tank like other road users. The car requires less maintenance compared to petrol-powered cars. A local in Abuja also told the press that the aesthetics of his Tesla car is fantastic, and the dashboard display and other functions in the car are integrated with smartphone Technology.

Additionally, EV drivers do not have to deal with local mechanics or worry about the challenges that combustion engines give. Also, for instance, Tesla vehicles are one of the most beautiful cars in the world. The cars are semi-automatic, depending on how well you can operate them. A Tesla car sets the steering wheel, mirrors, and car seats. It also automatically recognizes the owner when they are in the driver’s seat. These cars also come equipped with a great navigation system.

Driving EVs also have its own pros and cons.

While driving EVs makes life a lot easier, the price of these vehicles may be too steep for the average Nigerian. Currently, a Tesla Model X starts at $114,990. At Black Market rate, that is equal to about 80 million Naira. The 2022 Tesla Model Y starts at $64,990, while a Model Y Performance model starts at $67,990. At black market rate, that is between 45 million naira and 48 million naira.

However, the 2023 Hyundai Kona Electric is a relatively affordable electric vehicle. It has an impressive range of 258 miles and is a great subcompact SUV. Its price starts at $33,550. That is about 23 million Naira at black market rate. In the same vein, despite the existence of a few charging stations available, adequate charging infrastructure is currently lacking in Nigeria. Of course, any EV owner can set up a home charging system if they do not have access to a dedicated charging station. But is electricity stable in the country?

This is a virgin industry that can be leveraged.

According to the producers of EVs, electric vehicles demand the same power that a home air conditioner or large refrigerator uses. So, a Tesla can charge to full capacity between 4 to 6 hours, while a Hyundai Kona can within 9 to 10 hours. A Tesla at full charge can cover a distance of between 360km and 560km. This industry is relatively new in Nigeria and can be leveraged by Investors and stakeholders. They can establish charging stations in the country to start the process of meeting North America’s record of 100 EV charging companies and 300 globally. The Nigerian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Israeli and Japanese companies to commence assembling and Manufacturing of electric vehicles in Nigeria. Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of Innoson Motors, has also said his company will venture into the EV business when Nigeria is ready.


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